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Sunday, November 4, 2018 by AbleCommerce Team

Some functions and features of ecommerce stores are similar, whether you have a B2B ecommerce store or a B2C ecommerce store. Many, however, are distinctive because selling to other businesses is often different from selling to consumers.

You shouldn't have to adapt your business processes or procedures to fit in with the functionality of a shopping cart solution. Instead, your B2B ecommerce store should meet the needs of your business directly.

Here are 12 features you should look out for when looking at ecommerce solutions for a B2B store:

1. Complex Pricing

With a B2C ecommerce website, pricing is usually simple as every customer gets the same price. B2B ecommerce websites are different as you have varying arrangements in place for different customers. It could be because of the volume of business you do with them, the frequency of orders, or the type of products they buy. You may also have different pricing arrangements in place at the order level, regardless of who the customer is. Your store needs to have functionality that can handle whatever pricing model you have, however complex.

2. Bulk Discounts

Bulk discounts are a common feature of B2B businesses. They are a way of encouraging higher order values and building customer loyalty. AbleCommerce makes aforementioned as easy as possible with built-in bulk discount functionality.

3. Minimum Order Quantities

In addition to policies like discounts for buying in bulk, many B2B stores also operate a minimum order value for all or some of their products. Minimum order quantities are often essential for managing margins and ensuring you remain profitable. Your ecommerce solution should have this functionality too.

4. Customer Registration

Customer registration is an essential feature for B2B ecommerce stores, but it should have specific functionality aimed at businesses that sell to other businesses. This means the ability to set different pricing levels based on the contracts you have in place with individual customers, or based on groups of customers. You should also be able to do the same with minimum order quantities, payment terms, discounts, shipping arrangements, and other settings.

A login section of the store also lets you hide particular products and block individual purchases, particularly for customers who are not registered. You can also put in place order tracking, and target the customer with personalized promotions.

5. Tax Exemption

Tax exemption is a complex area in all ecommerce stores because of the way the internet makes it easy to find and sell to customers in other countries. It is even more complicated in a B2B environment as some customers don't pay tax, and some products are tax exempt. You need the flexibility to handle all of these issues in your ecommerce store.

6. One-Click Reorder

Registered customers should be able to see their order history when logged into their account on your store. They should also be able to reorder with a single click, saving them time and grows their loyalty to you.

7. Flexible Payments

Having flexible payment options is an advisable feature for any ecommerce store, but it is particularly important for B2B businesses. You probably offer multiple online methods of payment, but what about offline methods of processing a payment? An example is ordering with a purchase order number and then paying on 30 days' credit. If you offer this or similar payment options to all or some of your customers, your ecommerce store should be flexible enough to accommodate it.

8. Mobile Responsive

Mobile devices are more and more frequently used to purchase from B2B websites. Mobile devices are also frequently used in the research phase of your customer's buying process. Your ecommerce store should, therefore, look great on mobile devices. All the features of your store should also work on mobile.

9. Intuitive User Experience

Most people in business are under time pressure. You can increase the appeal of your website if you make it as easy as possible to find your products, find information, and complete the purchasing process. You can achieve this by making the website intuitive with clear navigation and a powerful search feature. Also, the checkout process should be as quick and straightforward as possible.

10. Marketing Tools

It is essential to continuously market to your customers to stay front of mind, build loyalty, upsell, cross-sell, and win repeat orders. Your ecommerce store should make this as easy as possible. In particular, it should be easy to promote particular products or product ranges on your website.

11. Real-time Inventory Updates

Real-time inventory updates are the only way you can be sure that your customers get the most accurate information. This builds trust in your brand, encourages repeat sales, and improves levels of customer service. Real-time updates also improve your inventory management, especially if you operate a just-in-time business model.

12. Full Customization

Most ecommerce solutions offer multiple features, but they do it in a rigid way. To get the most from your store, however, it needs to adapt to the way you do business, not the other way around. That means you should be able to customize it to match your business logic and processes. Some examples include:

  • AbleCommerce includes features for sales reps, such as the ability to place orders on behalf of their clients, order samples, or check inventory.
  • Giving customers the facility to request a quote, particularly with sophisticated or customizable products that are hard to define with a fixed price.
  • The ability to check and approve orders before they get fulfilled.
  • Custom branding so the store looks like your brand, not like all the other stores using the same ecommerce platform.

You may not need all the features and functionality listed here, but they are all common to B2B business models. The crucial point is that you need an ecommerce solution that is built for B2B sales or has powerful B2B functionality. AbleCommerce is one of the solutions which includes all the features and functions described above so is adaptable to any B2B store or selling situation.

Friday, October 19, 2018 by AbleCommerce Team

For many people, the task of Christmas shopping has already begun. If your store is not yet ready for the rush—and optimized to maximize holiday sales—you will miss out.

Trends over recent years have shown that the Christmas shopping season begins earlier and earlier every year—long before the ads begin on television and even before the brick-and-mortar stores ramp up their post-Halloween efforts.

This trend of an earlier start to Christmas shopping is largely driven by the Internet and mobile technology.

The Facts and Figures

The Christmas shopping season is the most important time of the year for many ecommerce retailers, and there is a lot of research that looks at consumer trends. This research cannot be ignored, and one of the main findings points to being prepared early for Christmas shoppers.

A report from Nielson, a market research company, found that in September 2015, 36 percent of Americans had already started their Christmas shopping. By the beginning of November, 46 percent had begun Christmas shopping, and by the end of November, almost three-quarters of Christmas shoppers had already made a purchase.

Research by Magnetic found something similar. It reports that one-third of Christmas shoppers start researching their purchases a few months before the holiday season properly starts. That means October, September, and even August.

Google has published similar research. It says that more than a quarter of people start Christmas shopping before the end of October. In fact, almost 50 percent of people have their Christmas shopping almost finished before Cyber Monday. In other words, before December even starts, some people are done buying Christmas presents.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two key dates for ecommerce stores in the Christmas shopping calendar. They occur around the Thanksgiving holiday—Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, while Cyber Monday takes place on the following Monday.

The concept of Black Friday began long before the Internet in 1932. For decades it was regarded as the day the Christmas shopping season started. Shops would open early, stay open late, and put on promotions to bring in the crowds.

The Internet has changed all that, and the Christmas shopping season now starts much earlier. Research by Magnetic shows that 24 percent of shoppers begin searching for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals one month before the actual shopping days take place. With two weeks to go before these big shopping days, more than 50 percent of consumers are already searching for the best deals.

As Christmas Approaches

So we have established that people start shopping for Christmas gifts earlier than they used to and that they are using the Internet to do this. Christmas shoppers also use the Internet to research the two main shopping days of the season: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. What happens as you get closer to Christmas though?

The research shows that consumer habits change the closer you get to Christmas, and understanding how these habits change may present opportunities for your store.

In particular, people start shopping for gift cards the closer it gets to Christmas. There are probably a number of reasons for this, including the fact that delivery is easier with a gift card than a larger item, so it is more likely to arrive on time. Also, gift cards are convenient when you don’t know what to buy someone. Many use it as a last resort when they run out of other ideas.

Magnetic looked into this and found there were 79 percent more searches for gift cards in the week before Christmas compared to the beginning of December.

If you offer gift cards and reliable delivery for them, you might be able to extend your Christmas sales for a few more days.

What You Need to Do to Get Your Store Ready for Christmas

There are a number of things that you should already have in place in order to get the most from the Christmas shopping season. If you haven’t done any of these, you should prioritize them as much as possible:

  • Homepage – Create a new homepage for your site with a Christmas theme. Include relevant offers as well as other information that customers are looking for. This includes delivery times and the latest order dates for guaranteed delivery before Christmas.
  • Black Friday deals – You should have decided on your Black Friday deals too. Your email marketing campaigns, PPC ads, and social media campaigns should be ready to go, as you will need to start sending them out well in advance of the date.
  • Cyber Monday deals – The same applies to Cyber Monday—everything should be in place, and your marketing messages should be ready to go well beforehand.
  • Product descriptions – You should take time to make sure all your product descriptions are optimized, particularly on the lines that will be popular during the Christmas season. This helps with your search engine optimization, but it also helps with increasing conversions.

Micro Moments

The micro moments concept is something you should also understand in order to take full advantage of the Christmas shopping season. It is a term Google uses to describe the purchasing process of consumers, and it shows why the Christmas shopping season is now longer than it used to be. Micro moments are the multiple engagements that consumers have with brands and retailers before they make a purchase. Google says that to be successful in ecommerce, you have to positively interact with consumers at each of these touchpoints.

Even if consumers haven’t made a Christmas-related purchase by the end of October, most have begun to think about what they might buy, and many will have started doing research. That research is a micro moment. Make sure your website is ready and maximizes the engagement so that you get the purchase rather than one of your competitors.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 by AbleCommerce Team

Getting your ecommerce store ready for Christmas

To make the most of the Christmas bounce in sales, you have to get your ecommerce store ready. What are the things you should look at, though, and what should be your priority? Here are some things you should consider.

Evaluate Last Year – And Your Competitors

Start by looking at what happened last year – what worked and what didn't.  Include in this evaluation your offers, the order fulfilment process (including delivery), the functionality of your store, the speed and uptime of your store, and stock levels. Identify areas that need improvement or enhancement. It is also worth thinking about what your competitors did last year. Is there anything you can learn from them?


Now we are getting to the practical steps you should take, and at the top of the list is the functionality of your ecommerce store on mobile. Ideally, your ecommerce store should look as good on mobile as it does on desktop. All features should work on mobile too, and it should be fast. If this is not the case with your store, you should review your mobile set up.

General Check-Up

Next, do a general check-up of your website. Here are some things you should look out for: 

  • Make sure your site runs quickly
  • Check for broken links
  • Review your product descriptions and images
  • Generally declutter your pages
  • Make sure all your page titles and descriptions are unique
  • Review your product categories and store structure
  • Review you store’s security, particularly password security
  • Make sure your CMS, theme, and plugins are up-to-date
  • Review your website hosting and upgrade/change if necessary

Update Your Shopping Cart

You should also review your shopping cart. Many store owners regard shopping carts as functional tools, but this is only part of what they do. Shopping carts also play an important role in improving conversion rates. In particular, a high quality shopping cart that is well-configured will improve your shopping cart abandonment rate.

Start a Blog

A blog is a great way to connect with customers, enhance relationships, and build loyalty. It also helps with the SEO of your ecommerce store. If you haven’t started a blog yet, now is a good time to start.

Design a Customised Homepage

Many ecommerce stores make minimal changes to their homepage at Christmas. You can make yours stand out from the crowd while also being more relevant and appealing to customers by designing a customized homepage. This can include images and text but the two most important things are:

  1. Christmas related offers – on-trend products or items you want to promote
  2. Delivery information – how long your delivery takes and the last date you can guarantee pre-Christmas delivery

Review Your Payment Options

You might be losing out on sales because of the payment options you offer. This particularly applies if the number of payment options is limited. You don’t want a customer to buy from a competitor because they offer a payment method that you don’t. You should, therefore, offer as many payment methods as you can.

Prepare Advertising and Marketing Campaigns

Now is the time to begin preparing your Christmas advertising and marketing campaigns. You probably won’t launch these until November and December, but the earlier you can get them ready, the better. This includes PPC ads, email marketing, and social media marketing as well as online marketing efforts. You should:

  • Develop the marketing message for this year
  • Come up with special offers to include in your advertising
  • Write the text of your campaigns including PPC ads, social media posts, and content on your website
  • Develop the images, videos, and other creatives you need
  • Create landing pages

Remember to create urgency in your campaigns. At Christmas, customers are going to spend money. The only real question is whether they spend it with you or someone else. One of the best ways to ensure this happens is to create urgency.

Explore Alternative Forms of Advertising

Staying ahead of the competition to maximise your Christmas sales means you should look at alternative means of advertising as well as what has worked for you in the past. Three possible channels are mentioned above: PPC campaigns, email marketing, and social media. If you don’t use one or more of these at the moment, you should explore if they are a good fit for your business.

You can also try other forms of advertising that you might not have tried yet. Examples include Facebook ads or retargeting ads.

Offer More

This tip is about thinking about the things that customers are concerned about at Christmas and working out if there is anything you can offer that deals with those concerns and gives you an edge on the competition. Here are some examples:

  • Lowering or scrapping your delivery charges
  • Improving the speed of delivery
  • Offering a complimentary gift wrapping service


Take some time also to ensure you have an analytics service properly set up and configured on your website. Google Analytics is one of the most widely used. With this in place you can effectively measure and analyze the work you have done to maximize your Christmas sales.

Don't Forget Post-Christmas Sales Shoppers

Finally, start planning for the post-Christmas sales. You won’t have much time between the Christmas rush and the sales season so you should put as much in place as you can now.

You might not get all of the items on this list completed before you start seeing the annual sales uptick for Christmas, but the more you can, the better your results should be.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 by AbleCommerce Team

You have an e-commerce store,  but you’re finding that site analytics aren’t where they should be.   If your conversion rate isn’t up to par, you could be making some  mistakes on your site that are costing you valuable sales and customers.   Let’s look at some e-commerce errors that you should avoid or fix  on your website.

1.  Homepage Doesn’t Reflect Your Products

Look at your homepage for a few seconds and pretend to be a customer.   Then look away and ask yourself, “What does that website offer  me?”  Honestly try to answer this question and if you’re having  trouble telling what your site is about after a short glance, then your  homepage isn’t doing its job.  People should be able to quickly  eyeball your homepage and know what it is your site offers.  If  people can’t tell what your site is about, they will leave.  First  impressions are that important, so make your homepage targeted.

2. Call To Action Is Absent Or Unclear

Customers want quick and easy action.  They don’t want to waste  time and expect businesses to tell them how to purchase things.   What is your call to action?  If your buy now button isn’t  big and directly in view, then chances are it’s being missed by  customers.  It’s essential to have a buy now button and ensure that  it’s highlighted on your site.  If not, customers won’t know what  to do and they’ll wander off your site.

3.  Prices Aren’t Listed

Don’t worry about listing your prices—this is a business and people  are here for that reason.  Customers aren’t going to think anything  of it if you list your prices clearly in view.  In fact, they will  appreciate the upfront aspect of this because it makes things easier on  them.  Trying to be discreet with your prices often just make  customers wary and confused.  They start worrying that hidden fees  will be tacked on later or that you’re trying to hide something.   So list prices where people can easily see them.

4. No Symbols Of Trust

Scams are common on the Internet and people are always watching out  for them.  Sites that invoke trust are the ones that get business  and conversions.  No one is going to hand out financial information  to a site that looks unprofessional.  It’s important for your site  to look legitimate, so list any symbols of trust on your store’s pages,  like reviews and testimonials from previous customers.  You could  also list awards your store has received, business licenses, or other  appropriate symbols of merit.  And don’t hide these symbols of  trust on your about or purchase pages—put them in plain sight on the  homepage or sidebar.

Try to look at your site using a potential customer’s perspective.   Is your site clear and elegant in its design?  Fix any  mistakes on your site and keep things as simple as possible for your  visitors to find directly what they want.  If you need any help  with your online store, don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’d be happy to serve you!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018 by AbleCommerce Team

Often times, people want to see what they  are buying. More so, they need to touch and take it for a spin. However,  this is impossible with online products (not unless you major in  web-based software). To compensate for this, you need to make your  products come live through photographs and graphics as a means of increasing ecommerce conversion ratios.Mobile ecommerce graph

With the holiday fast approaching, you need to take advantage of high  quality images. Make sure that customers can make out exactly what you  display on your site. Make sure that the image is clear to depict the  real product. Use a default image to show in full size and add clickable  thumbnails that produce enlarged images.

Your customers need to feel your products. Using multiple images can  help you achieve this. Shoot as many images as you can of the product  from different angles. This depicts the product to the customers to give  them a personal experience.

Another trick is being contextual. According to Practical Ecommerce, “Adding  a contextual live chat may be one of the easiest ways to improve an  ecommerce business overall, and it can be simple to implement.” You  need to show your products in context to make your customers imagine  using them. Through live chats and products demos, you show the  simplicity of applying the products.

Try 360° rotating images. Standard two-dimensional images are  outdated. With rotational images, your customers will have a better view  of the items you have for sale. This has a great impact on their  purchase decisions.

To boost your ecommerce conversions, make use of human photos. You  can post photos of your executive team on your landing page. With photos  of real people on your site, customers feel that they are dealing with  real people. The images of people behind the development of a product  create a personal impact and attract your customers.

Add taste to your blog posts using images. Blogs without pictures  tend to be boring and tasteless. In as much as you have quality content  on your site, you have to spice it up with graphics and photos. Keep in  mind that images play a key role in enhancing readability and user  experience. Images encourage users to read your blogs more and the more  they read, the more they generate a relation with you.

To learn more about how images can help you increase ecommerce conversion ratios, please contact us.

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